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Servant leadership volunteer experience
I volunteered at the American Red Cross, which is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to prevent and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies. This is done by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. I decided to volunteer at the organization because there is need to help many people in time of disaster, especially now that our country is prone to disasters such as terrorist’s attacks. I was motivated to help others, and the American Red Cross offered the opportunity. The experience at the organization was overwhelming because there is so much to learn at the American Red Cross. They provide training to volunteers and are assigned stations to aid. Being a volunteer, there are many opportunities to benefit from in the organization.
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First, you can take a leadership role such as a community volunteer leader, whose work is to focus on recruiting volunteers and managing vital local relationships. Also, there is an opportunity to support the Red Cross blood team and work as a blood donor recruiter, whose work is to recruit blood donors and promote blood drives. Also, you can work as a blood driver volunteer whose task is to register blood donors. Other opportunities include helping during a crisis, educating others and also assisting with fundraising efforts.
Greenleaf principle implemented
During my volunteer experience, I applied the Greenleaf principles of listening. I realized as a servant leader you need to listen to others carefully to get the root of the problem and be able to provide workable solutions. When you listen to people keenly and pay attention they appreciate and realize that they are being valued, therefore, they will tell you their personal problems and as a leader, you have to implement such principle. For example, during our training as volunteers, I listened carefully to the instruction provided, and I was able to apply it on the ground as I try to help others.
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The other principle I implemented was persuasion. As a servant leader one should rely on persuasion rather than positional authority in making a decision, therefore, it is essential to persuade first before making a decision (Burell, 2016). As a servant leader, you do not need to force things to happen instead you should use the art of persuasion to make things happen. At the American Red Cross we used persuasion as a method to help others, understand the importance of crisis management and also help to lure them in trainings that will help in crisis management.
How my volunteering helped me become a servant leader
During my volunteer period, I tried my best to act as a server to be the perfect leader. By applying principles of a servant leader helped me become more of a servant than just a leader. I took time to listen to people problems and try to solve them on my own and this made the individuals feel appreciated and cared for. As a servant leader, you need to drop your ego and be on par with others to understand what they feel, and this will make you the perfect leader. I also tried to empathize with others so that they can feel appreciated. I decided to accept people as they are and appreciate them the way they are. Also I tried to avoid judging and questioning their behavior before digging deeper. Most importantly I learned that using the art of persuasion make a person be more of a leader when serving others. Persuading people to do the right thing and at the same time you have gone down to their level makes them feel appreciated and that you are not coursing them instead you are advising.
Serving others produce a positive impact
At the American Red Cross, all the people working there are volunteers. When I volunteered, I did not expect to gain much, but due to the urge of wanting to help others, I decided to volunteer. Serving other might influence change or produce a positive impact for the better good. For example, before I volunteered to the organization we had a debate with one of my friends that being a servant leader is a time of the past and did not apply in the real world. My friend insisted that volunteering at the American Red Cross was not a good idea. I managed to convince him that he should join me so that we can determine who was correct. He agreed, and we volunteered together and went for the training, and we were able to get a chance to practice what we learned during the training around the community. To my surprise, he enjoyed the work we did and towards the end of the volunteering period he agreed that being a servant leader is the most beautiful thing. Hence the idea of serving others as a leader can have a positive impact for the better good of the community and at a personal level as well.
What I learned
By applying several principles of a servant leader and my personal leadership skills, I think my time during the volunteer work was the best experience ever. I learned many things about myself and were a leader. I realized being a servant leader is not easy as it seems. Serving others requires patience, determination, and courage (Neill et al., 2013). Therefore, I have learned that I can be a servant leader only if you follow the principle that will guide you and keep you on track.
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Application of what I learned in the workplace and personal life
By volunteering at the American Red Cross, I learned that it is vital for people to be servant leaders since it is not only helpful for one side but also both side the leader and the followers. I would apply the Greenleaf principles of servant leadership in my personal life and even at the workplace to create a serene environment for my peers and me. I will listen to other people and try to help them in the best possible way.
- Burell, C. (2016). Comparing and Contrasting Servant Leadership Styles. Slideshare.
- Neill, M., Hayward, K. S., & Peterson, T. (2013). Students’ perceptions of the interprofessional team in practice through the application of servant leadership principles. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 21(4), 425-432.